A special celebration commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Council of the Baltic Sea States took place at Plön Castle in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, on 5 February. BDF participated in this event as well as in the following Baltic Media Forum 2012 held in Kiel, Germany, 5-7 February.
20th Anniversary of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS)
Founder of Baltic Development Forum (BDF) and Honorary Chairman, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, and BDF Director, Hans Brask, took part in the special celebrations of the 20th anniversary of CBSS at Plön Castle in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, on 5 February 2012. The ceremony, which gathered Foreign Affairs Ministers of 12 member countries (Sweden and Russia was represented at vice-minister level), was one of the highlights of the German Presidency of CBSS 2011-2012.
CBSS co-founding fathers, Mr. Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Mr. Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, were especially invited and together with the German and Danish Foreign Ministers of the two regional presidencies, Guido Westerwelle (CBSS) and Villy Søvndal (EU), they took part in a televised debate where the theme was “Between vision and reality: 20 years of the Council of the Baltic Sea States – trends and prospects”.
The panel of the session was asked whether there was still a need for CBSS and regional cooperation. Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Willy Søvndal, answered affirmatively: Europe was presently witnessing strong tendencies of disintegration and, in light thereof, the wish for closer cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region was the best answer to the crisis in Europe. Cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region was in many ways a role model for Europe.
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen’s comment to the present situation in the Baltic Sea Region was in line with the speech of Poland’s Foreign Minister Sikorski when he spoke in Berlin last autumn (commenting on the wider European crisis of the EU): “he feared more German inaction than action”. For Mr. Ellemann-Jensen, German involvement – at federal and regional level – was important today as it was 20 years ago, thereby complementing the present German CBSS Presidency.
Baltic Media Forum 2012 5-7 February
The Plön celebration also marked the opening of the Baltic Media Forum 2012. BDF participated in the conference, which took place at the Chamber of Commerce of Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, Germany, 5-7 February. The Forum was organised by Norddeutsche Rundfunk and Academia Baltica, and representatives from many Baltic Sea Region organizations took part in the event that celebrated the 20th anniversary of the CBSS.
On 6 February, Head of Public Affairs, Torben Aaberg took part in a round table discussion on “Opportunities of a Common Economic and Energy Policy in the Baltic Sea Region”. The main focus of the discussion was on the perspectives of closer energy cooperation at national level. BDF stressed the importance of practically oriented cross-regional initiatives at the local level to investigate new public-private solutions in the energy sector if the Baltic Sea Region should release its potential to become a pilot region for green growth and competitiveness. BDF-lead project Regional Energy Solutions in Kaliningrad was mentioned as such a practical example of energy efficiency cooperation at the local level.
For further information, contact Head of Public Affairs, Torben Aaberg, +45 60 21 85 74, firstname.lastname@example.org